New US Hours-of-Service Regulations Effective July 1st
Effective July 1, 2013 a new round of hours-of-service rules go into effect in the United States, and those who drive south of the border will need to be ready. If you've been operating in the United States for awhile, you are probably already used to adjusting your hours to meet US regulations. Here are two more recent regulations coming into effect in July:
30-Minute Mandatory Break Requirement: Drivers of property-carrying vehicles in the United States cannot drive if more than 8 hours have passed since the driver’s last off-duty or sleep break of 30 minutes or more. So if a driver reaches the 8th hour into the work shift, and wants to drive but has not yet taken a 30-minute break, he/she must take a break of at least 30 minutes. The rules do not specify when within the eight hours the 30-minute break must occur. Timing will be key here in order to avoid multiple 30-minute breaks per day. For example, if the driver takes a 30-minute break after two hours, another 30-minute break would be required after 10 hours. Remember, these short, 30-minute off-duty periods will count against the driver’s 14-hour limit in the United States and the 16-hour limit in Canada, if the driver will be returning to Canada during the run. It’s important to note that while in the United States, drivers can continue to work after the eighth consecutive hour into the work shift, they just cannot drive without having taken the 30-minute break.
34-Hour Restart Rule: Effective July 2013, the 34-hour restart provisions are changing. In order for a 34-hour restart to be valid, drivers using a restart need to make sure the period includes two back-to-back nighttime rest periods from 1:00 am to 5:00 am. The restart in Canada is 36 hours for a 70-hour/seven-day cycle, so a Canadian driver’s restart is going to be at least 36 hours to meet the restart requirements in both Canada and the United States. In order for drivers to meet the back-to-back periods, the restart period may need to be several hours longer than the required minimum 36 hours. The US restart rules also state that a restart can only be used once per week, or only after 168 hours have passed since the beginning of the driver’s last restart. If a driver restarts more often than what’s allowed by US rules, the driver must indicate on the log which restart will be the one that’s being used as the “valid” restart. Restarts taken in addition to the “valid” restart no longer reset hours back to zero.
In Canada, drivers can restart as often as they wish. So a driver operating between Canada and the United States may want to operate under the US cycle restart rules, as they are more restrictive, but ensure that the restart is at least 36 hours to meet Canadian regulations (for the 70-hour/7-day cycle). If drivers restart within the 168-hour period since the last restart, they must remember to designate which restart is the “valid” restart. Drivers also have the option of keeping track of the cycle hours and staying within the cycle limits. Restarting is optional in both the United States and Canada as long as day-to-day, drivers stay within the cycle limits.
For the full article on this topic, please see Toying With Time: New HOS And What You Need To Know by Heather Ness, Today's Trucking (April 17, 2013).
Tia Chisholm, HUB International TRANSPORTATION
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